Monday, December 19, 2011
merry holidays everyone! i congratulate you with christmas!
we have been decorating our apartment. lets just say, we bought a christmas tree. a real one! they are pretty cheap here. we got it for less than ten bucks. in our apartment were already some lights and other decorations too. and thanks to my PACKAGES!!!!!!! i put up the merry christmas sign.
THANK YOU FOR THE PACKAGES!!!!!!! i am so excited for everything! they are so good. i think they got a little bit....ukrained...but hopefully everything important is still there. i'll send a picture. i love the pictures and letters!! that’s probably my favorite part. and the beef jerky. and mexican spices. mmmmmm. also, a big thank you to everyone who sent me christmas cards! thank you the pews! thank you the stauffers! i love getting letters.
we had a good week. one of the more interesting days of my mission was thursday. there we were, sitting innocently in the morning. suddenly our branch president calls us and asks us for some help. so we go over to this member's house, and it turns out that his mom has died (no one was too surprised, she was like 95 years old). I hope this doesn't sound like i'm taking death lightly. so the help that was needed was for us to go up four stories, and carry the corpse downstairs. one of their weird traditions says that family members aren't allowed to do anything with the dead body. so first of all, the stench was aweful. she was laying there on a bed in their apartment. we picked up the four corners of the sheet she was laying on and started walking. ukrainian stairwells, if i haven't told you this before, are not very spacious. just imagine trying to be respectful of the dead while carrying her down stairs in bedsheets. just outside the door was the coffin, where we laid her. we sang a few hymns, and they nailed the coffin shut. then they shoved in in the back of a car, me and my comp got in with it, and we drove to the cemetary. once we got there, we waited a bit for some more people to come. about ten people were there. we just kind of tried to stay out of the way. some workers came and took the box and everyone followed. they put it in the ground. they threw some dirt on as i watched from a distance. they said a couple of words, and we walked away.
ok so i just talked to you on skype, which took a lot of time away from writing. i'll be brief. tuesday was a really good day. we got two new brother investigators! one named philip, the other festos. both are way legit, festos says he already knows that the book of mormon is true and that our church is the true church. they are a spiritual race, i tell you what.
unfortuanately hales got sick for his first time in ukraine (aww) on friday, so we didn't get much done. but it was my 18 month mark!! so i burned a shirt and tie.
saturday was a day of business. i signed all the contracts and paid all the money for a new apartment in alexeevka. it was interesting...luckily it wasn't too complicated. i just signed all the papers, and now we own the apartment.
yeah. i'm now out of things to write. it was great to talk with you. i can't wait for sunday. I love you!!!!
love, elder derek brimley
Monday, December 12, 2011
Thursday, December 8, 2011
it went great! kind of. here, unlike most of the civilized world/ church, missionaries are in charge of the entire baptism. and this week we have had a lot to do. i mean, a lot. i'll get to the rest of it later. suffice it to say, we unfortunately couldn't focus 100 percent of our attention on preparation for the baptism. it didn't help that when we got to the church, they had moved the piano into a different room, and said we couldn't move it. so we set everything up in that room, until our branch president came and told us that we had to do it in another room. so we had to re set up really quickly. and then it turned out that the baptismal program had a lot of mistakes (a LOT of mistakes) because, i was in charge of it completely. and i'm human. unfortunately, our branch presidency doesn't understand that, and combined with a preconceived hatred to all missionaries, it made for a long scolding for me. in the end, she was baptised, and everything worked out. but it was stress, ful! elder fish baptised her, and i gave her the holy ghost yesterday. she is great!
so lets go back to... tuesday. tuesday night i called into the zl's, and they mention that elder mcCallson is going home the next day, a week early because of his arm. remember him? yeah, he's going to need surgery. anyways, i wanted to say goodbye, so i called the ap's (one of which is a former companion, haizen). i said my goodbyes to mccallson, and then haizen said he wanted to talk to me. first thing he says: how would you feel if i told you that you were being transferred on sunday? i said that i would honestly be pissed. sorry mom, i couldn't think of a better word. you can edit that one out. he said, well...you are. the new greenies finally got their visa's (they have been serving in america for a month) and you are going to train one of them, and your companion fish will train one of them in alexeevka. needless to say, i was furious. i didn't sleep well that night out of rage. i was not happy.
the next day- oh! i forgot to mention something awesome. wednesday, we had the baptismal interview with anya. the branch presidency were pretty against the baptism, because she couldn't really come to church because of school. well, we asked them to talk to her about it, because i still felt that she could be baptised, and that she would remain active. i just knew. well wednesday she told us that she decided not to take the extra courses next semester, so after three weeks, she will be able to come to church every week! it was a miracle. after the interview, we made president talk with her, because, we wanted him to put his stamp of approval on the baptism. i of course didn't want to baptise her without his permission. they had a good talk.
so that day i was on a split with mendoza. we were eating dinner that night, and i get a call from elder haizen again. we made a mistake, he said. fish is leaving, and you are staying. i thanked my lucky stars, and made sure that it wasn't because of something i said that made them change it. he said that that day, he, his companion, and president prayed one last time about the transfer, and all felt like the change had to be made. it was a miracle! poor fish, i don't envy his position. i couldn't really pretend to be excited for him, because he saw how (sorry) pissed i was about leaving. i think he is ok with it.
another thing we had to do- apparently they want to put another couple of missionaries in the alexeevka branch (which i am against, by the way). so we had to go check out an apartment that they picked out. we met with the landlord, talked about the apartment, looked at it, talked about what else missionaries will need (there is only one bed and no washing machine). but overall, it was really nice. i told them we will take it, and let the office talk with them about paperwork. the next day, saturday (yeah, baptism day), they called me up and said that they reconsidered and decided not to give us the apartment. before i could ask why they hung up. so i called the office, and he said he would figure it out. i haven't heard about it since.
so sunday after church we headed by bus to donetsk to pick up the greenies. it was a really long ride because the stupid bus stopped in every city, and waited forever. and they were playing this stupid sitcom that was like scrubs but not funny. a normally 5 hour ride turned into 7 1/2. boo. oh well. we got in, and slept over at some elders house.
Monday, November 28, 2011
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Monday, October 31, 2011
Hello my american friends!
I am happy about the week. more things worked out than normally, people just seemed to meet with us. thats always good. it doesn't sound like much, but 10 lessons in a week for this area isn't bad. we met with pretty much everyone that is possible and willing to meet with us. and got two new investigators! not bad at all for one week. and some other...not so cool stuff happened. but not to me, so thats good. but i'll talk about that later.
tuesday, we finally met with igor, a guy that has been coming to institute, ward activities, even church once, for months. but he has never just met with us missionaries for some reason. he is kind of an interesting guy. the other day, us and some youth were at the church, and he was like, when is somebody going to tell me about joseph smith? i told him anytime, and he kind of played it off like he was joking. but later i called him and finally got him to have a meeting with us. it's a big step. so we meet and talk, get to know each other. we planned on teaching the first lesson, but we got kind of sidetracted because he admitted to us (i don't think it was a secret, i just didn't know) that he was an atheist. but only kind of an atheist. it is pretty obvious to me that he is doubting his unbelief. we ended up just talking about God for an hour, and by then it was too late to teach the restoration thoroughly. it was still good though. we peaked his interest. the problem is, he is leaving for two weeks tomorrow, and i don't know if i'm staying that long. hopefully, i guess.
i don't know if i'm staying or going. its pretty much 50-50. i don't mind either way, i'll be happy. i'll find out on friday. i love mariupol, but i also would love to go back to xarkov.
we had couple of days without much to do other than contact, but we actually saw some (not a lot, but some) success. this area is hard for contacting, i don't really know why. luckily, we had some stuff to break it up with: a youth fireside, district meeting, youth night. sasha and igor came to youth night, which was good. we also had like five member lessons, talked about "my zion", which is a way to get referrals, but it didn't work very well. we will keep trying with that.
on friday we got another new investigator, a babooshka who lives in our...stairwell. подъезд. we met her randomly thanks to a mistake i made a week or two ago, and in the process, we asked her if we could come over sometime and talk to her. she was ecstatic, yes! please! i spend every day alone in my apartment come over please! so we did, we had a nice visit. she is pretty brainwashed by the orthodox church, but she is sweet. taught a nice first lesson. it will be good to meet her, give her some company, and hopefully we can help her come closer to God.
saturday night was pretty scary. we were at the church, it was sasha's (the guy who is going on a mission soon) birthday, so we were having a cake with him. a couple of elders in my district were messing around, trying to do a backflip off the others back, and basically, not surprisingly, it ended up bad. one elder got a really bad cut on his forehead, and dislocated his shoulder. he had to get stitches in his forehead, and he is getting an mri tomorrow for his shoulder. pretty scary, there was a lot of blood. but it is all taken care of, kind of. it was scary for a while.
anyways, i'm doing good. i'm happy right now. i'm preparing for the long winter, it is getting cold already. but i'm excited. i'm still loving the mission. i love all of you guys. thanks for all the letters and everything.
love elder brimley
Monday, October 17, 2011
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Many of you expressed concern about Derek based on his last
email, so I thought I would give you an update.
I actually talked to him today. I called the mission office to get an
update and he was there. He went to see a doctor this morning and was
put on antibiotics for an infection. He was also diagnosed with
Gilbert's syndrome by a Dr in Salt Lake and a Dr. serving as an area
Doctor over Ukraine. He describes this syndrome this way:"After
discussing his case with a Gastrointestinal Specialist in SLC, we feel
your son has Gilbert's syndrome. This is were there is a mild
deficiency in a liver enzyme that processes bilirubin. It is a benign
process that does not need treatment. It can be caused from such
things as viral illnesses and prolonged fasting. It can also run in
certain families. I asked that he have his liver tests repeated in a
month to establish a new baseline"
Steve actually has this syndrome also. I think his appearance of
yellowish eyes and skin is the reason the hospitals and Doctors in
Ukraine would not help him because of the fear of Hepatitis. Derek
sounded good although it has been quite an ordeal for him. A couple
scary experiences with the Ukrainian health care system. We are hoping
that he makes a full recovery and can focus on being a missionary. He
is anxious to get back to Mariupol where he is serving.
We really appreciated Dr./Elder Mayberry who helped Derek and
communicated with us and let us know what was happening with him. He
told me to tell everyone hello and thanks you for prayers on his
behalf. I also wanted to thank you for your concern and kindness. We
are so lucky to have so many people who care for us.
love to all,
PS Derek was worried that I would freak out...I didn't do too bad.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Hey, so first off, so i don't forget: if you want anything from this art lady, you need to let me know by next monday. it takes a while to get things finished, as you might imagine. i think we should get at least something. it is pretty cheap: about 40 $ for a big egg. everything is probably around 30-50$. let me know, please.